Who Jared Harris
Accomplishments Stars as Hodge Starkweather in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, in theaters Aug. 21; played ill-fated ad exec Lane Pryce on Mad Men; appeared as Ulysses S. Grant in Lincoln; and starred as Andy Warhol in I Shot Andy Warhol
Base Los Angeles
What’s the first information you consume in the morning?
I look at the sports section of the Daily Mirror—they have an excellent sports section—and The Guardian. And Soccernet. I met George Best when I was a kid, and I’ve been a Manchester United fan ever since.
What occupies your mind in the car?
I have satellite radio. I listen to a very eclectic mix—the jazz station, and there’s a station called 40s on 4 that’s good, or ‘80s New Wave stuff on First Wave, or The Joint. And when I get very frustrated in traffic, I listen to the disco channel. You can’t be upset when you’re listening to disco.
Are you a TV junkie?
It goes in waves, really. But [my fiancée] Allegra and I have our guilty pleasures that we like to watch. Mine would probably be Survivor. She likes Fashion Police and RuPaul’s Drag Race. And we love Robot Chicken, Big Bang Theory—that’s not even a guilty pleasure; that’s really good—and a lot of the dramas, like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Newsroom. And my younger brother [Jamie Harris] is on Magic City at the moment, so we’re watching that.
How do you wind down before bed?
I have a terrible time sleeping—I have insomnia—so I have a great strategy to help myself sleep. When I was at school, I was a very good student in some subjects and a terrible student in others. The subjects that I was terrible at, like history or mathematics or economics, I had a tendency to fall asleep in. What I discovered is that if I read a book on one of those subjects, even now, I’m programmed to fall asleep very quickly. So I read one of those books—like two pages—and it knocks me out right away. It’s very powerful stuff.
Have you managed to finish any of those books?
It took me about two years, but I read the entire History of the Second World War by B.H. Liddell Hart. And I’ve tried many times to get through Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time. I always get to the same point and then lose interest. Right when he gets to black holes … it’s way past my understanding.
Give us the skinny on your favorite app.
Allegra has an iPhone, which is an amazing device. I won’t get one because I just want a phone that makes phone calls and texts and nothing else. But there are some amazing iPhone apps. My three favorites at the moment are Hailo, Uber and OpenTable.
With such a bloated media universe, how do you cut out the fat?
I don’t “twit.” I don’t Facebook. None of that stuff. I still enjoy a good face-to-face conversation. But if they figured out how to actually serve cocktails on the Internet, I think that would seriously cut into it.